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Posts Tagged ‘Let go’

A few months ago my niece and nephew re-introduced me to jigsaw puzzles. Not the easy kind, either. The difficult 1,000-piece kind, with so many similar color schemes and uniquely shaped pieces that you want to pull all your hair out.
 

At first I was incredibly frustrated as my puzzle skills and the typical puzzle-building strategies didn’t work so well. After a while though, I didn’t mind. I started to notice that working on the puzzle was replacing something I hated but was addicted to – being online. I soon realized how joyous it was to disconnect from my computer and engage my brain with a puzzle.
 

Still, it was frustrating; especially in the beginning when 1,000 scattered puzzle pieces seemed to have no organization, rhyme or reason. I would often stare at the mess of pieces on the table, desperately trying to force together two pieces I thought should connect, but obviously didn’t.
 
 

Finally, tired of failure and my inability to see any patterns, I would walk away from the puzzle. Sometimes I would not return for a day or two.
 
That’s when the magic happened.
 

During that time away it was as if my subconscious took a snapshot of the puzzle and worked on it while I slept and did other things. Miraculously, when I returned to the puzzle, I could instantly fit numerous pieces in place that I previously stared at for hours.
 

This happened every single time I walked away from the puzzle. That’s when I realized the bigger message here.  At some point this year I will be confronted by a challenge that I just can’t see an answer to in the moment.
 
That’s when I should “walk away”.
 

When I bump into that unsolvable problem, that is when I should let the subconscious work on the problem and trust that it will come up with the answer I seek. Nine out of 10 times that time away will bring the clarity I so desperately want and will deliver the answer I desire. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, there is often magic in doing nothing.
 

“Take a walk outside – it will serve you far more than pacing around in your mind.”

— Rasheed Ogunlaru
 

American culture is a one that rewards and celebrates action and busy-ness. There is a lot to be said for that as our country has introduced innovation after innovation to the world. However, that culture has also created a society that favors action over thinking. And as such, we have lost our ability to think, let alone think critically.
 

I’m not sure we even know how to access our thinking anymore, for every second of our life is filled with noise, distraction and the latest technology or social media update.
 

So, here are some things you can do to quiet the mind, access your thinking – and more importantly – let the power of your subconscious effortlessly do the work.

  • Take a walk/Go for a bike ride/Exercise
  • Take a nap/Go to Sleep
  • Go out and have fun with friends.
  • Take a shower/bath.
  • Watch a movie.
  • Read a book.
  • Or, of course, you could build a jigsaw puzzle.

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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The other day I was riding my bicycle through the neighboring town of Denville. One of the many hazards of riding on the roads here in NJ is that the pavement must endure the freezing temperatures of winter and the blistering heat of summer. And that means many roads are in disrepair.
 
One particular intersection I confronted on my ride that day was ravaged by the cruelty of those seasonal extremes. Within a 10 yard stretch of pavement there were numerous potholes, divots in the pavement, grooves, and loose gravel was strewn everywhere. On top of that, I was immersed in morning commuter traffic. In a nutshell, it was treacherous terrain for a biker that easily spelled disaster.
 
As a natural reaction to the danger, my body tensed and became rigid. My hands gripped the brakes a little tighter preparing for the worse, my arms tensed and pulled closer into my body, my legs stopped peddling, my thighs tensed, and I held my breath. All of my energy and focus shifted to my eyes as I tried to plot a path to navigate through the mine field.
 
After a few intense seconds of jerking my front tire right and left to dodge the many booby traps in the road, I made it through. And although I was safe, my first thought and observation was how “out of control” I felt. I was so tense and rigid that if I needed to react to disaster, I would not have had the ability.
 
As weird as this might sound, I then thought of drunk drivers. I have read that when drunk drivers get into car accidents they often escape from the accident unscathed. One reason for this is that due to the alcohol, their body is relaxed and offers no resistance as it is jostled around during an accident. Essentially, their body goes with the flow of the energy and is taken where it might go.
 

I immediately wondered where else in my life was I living “tensed” and rigid, trying to control the outcomes as opposed to relaxing, trusting and letting life flow in, around and through me. I could see from this experience that traveling through life tense and rigid was not always the best approach to the bumps and potholes I encounter in life. In certain circumstances, I needed to let go.
 
And then a popular 1980’s song by 38 Special popped into my mind —

Just hold on loosely,
But don’t let go
If you cling to tightly
You’re gonna lose control.
 
Amazing how those 17 words captured the moment so perfectly.
 
Regardless of what the life situation is, be it a relationship, work, family, your kids . . . whatever, these seem to be sage words of advice.

 

Assuming we are not all really going to go through life drunk, the secret to living a peaceful, less-stressed life is to trust.
 
Trust in yourself, in your god, in your loved ones, in life itself. Trust that all will be OK and is unfolding as intended. Trust that whatever is before you, holds a gift.   Trust that the timing is perfect. Trust that the answer you received is perfect. Trust that life is nudging you in a direction.  And rather than resisting, stop, take a breath, and look for the message the Universe wishes to whisper to you.
 
One of my all-time favorite books captures this concept of trusting and letting go perfectly —
 
“Each creature in its own manner clung tightly to the twigs and rocks of the river bottom, for clinging was their way of life, and resisting the current what each had learned from birth.
 
But one creature said at last, ‘I am tired of clinging. Though I cannot see it with my eyes, I trust that the current knows where it is going. I shall let go, and let it take me where it will. Clinging, I shall die of boredom.’
 
The other creatures laughed and said ‘Fool! Let go and that current you worship will throw you tumbled and smashed across the rocks, and you will die quicker than boredom!’
 
But the one heeded them not, and taking a breath did let go, and at once was tumbled and smashed by the current across the rocks.
 
Yet in time, as the creature refused to cling again, the current lifted him free from the bottom, and he was bruised and hurt no more.
 
And the creatures downstream, to whom he was a stranger, cried, ‘See a miracle! A creature like ourselves, yet he flies! See the Messiah, come to save us all!
 
And the one carried in the current said, ‘I am no more Messiah than you. The river delights to lift us free, if only we dare to let go. Our true work is this voyage, this adventure.”
                                                                             — Illusions, Richard Bach

 

READ HOW THIS APPLIES TO YOUR BUSINESS here.

 

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